THE LEYLINES – Recover Reveal (own label)

Recover RevealBased in Weston-super-Mare, with numbers like ‘Breakout’, False Hope’, the rhythmically choppy ‘This Is Your Life’ and the aptly titled ‘Kicking Up A Storm’, the five-piece collective’s second album, Recover Reveal, bolsters their claim to be included alongside the likes of Skinny Lister, McDermott’s 2 Hours, Ferocious Dog, and The Levellers in the roll call of rowdy British folk punk. However, there’s more shadings to them than just that. Featuring the sterling violin skills of Hannah Johns, The stomping ‘Control’, ‘Long Way From Home’ and break-up number ‘In My Head’ are all rousing examples of urgent contemporary fiddle-driven folk rock while, in distinct contrast, the narrative lyric title track is a downbeat slow sway ballad about moving on and starting over and ‘In Your Shadow’ extends its fingerpicked guitar lines and pulsating rhythm over six ebb and flow minutes as it moves from spare acoustic to more anthemic heights.

‘Fly Away’ is equally infused with that soaring spirit of defiance, while on ‘Broken And Alone’ frontman Steve Mitchell delivers a stirring working class heroes battle cry from Brexit Britain that surely has a hint of Merry Hell about it. Although probably best experienced in a packed club or better yet shaking the skies at a festival (where they have built their reputation for a wild live performance), whether you bung this in the player while you’re hurtling down the motorway or raise a flagon or two with friends in the living room, The Leylines will connect you with a very vibrant natural energy.

Mike Davies

Artists’ website: www.theleylinesmusic.co.uk

‘This Is Your Life’ – official video:

THE LEYLINES – Along The Old Straight Track (own label)

Along The Old Straight TrackTwenty-five or thirty years ago you would have identified Along The Old Straight Track as a new Levellers’ album. There’s the distinctive vocal style, the driving fiddle, the solid drums and bass in the engine room and the occasional agit-prop lyrics. You won’t be surprised to learn that The Leylines were inspired by Levelling The Land or that the album was recorded at Metway Studios with Sean Lakeman and Al Scott in charge of production and mixing. The band are a quintet from Weston-super-Mare: Stephen Mitchell, Matthew Wilkins, Hannah Johns, Peter Fealey and Dave Burbidge and this is their first album following on from and EP, Let It Go, and the single ‘Sat In A Field’.

So here’s the question – when does inspiration become copying? I like this album and there are some brilliant songs. ‘Things I Know’ anticipates the coming revolution, ‘Run For Cover’ reiterates the warning and ‘You’ve Changed’ is puzzling and vaguely menacing – I wish I knew its back-story. ‘Sat In A Field’ extols the joys of summer festivals while ‘Sorry My Friends’ looks at the other side of the coin, lamenting that “the dream just didn’t come true”.

While Levellers seem to be re-treading past glories it’s good that someone is taking up the torch but now The Leylines have to step out of that shadow and stand blinking in the light of their own, not inconsiderable, talent. You’ve pitched your tent, chaps, and that’s great but next time you have to break some new ground – something like the hidden track would be good.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website: www.theleylinesmusic.co.uk

‘Sat In A Field’ – official video: